The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia: Kid Friendly Guide

franklin institute kid friendly guide

The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia is one of the oldest centers of science education in the United States and competes for title of the of the best science museum, or at least one of the best, in the world.

This incredible museum has loads on hands-on activities that both kids and adults will love. The entire museum is dedicated to the spirit of inquiry and the current mission of the Franklin Institute is to make science and technology education accessible for everyone.

franklin institute kid friendly guide

You can’t help but be amazed as soon as you walk up the steps to the Benjamin Franklin Memorial Hall. From there you can easily spend a full day exploring the many permanent and special exhibits.

The Giant Heart

franklin institute kid friendly guide

One of the most unique and iconic exhibits at the Franklin Institute is the giant heart exhibit. This human heart is large enough that you can walk through it and get an inside look at the chambers of the heart. Outside the heart exhibit you can learn more about how the heart works, with a look at a heart inside a body, activities on how blood circulates and more!

franklin institute kid friendly guide

Changing Earth

franklin institute kid friendly guide

Kids will love this exhibit about our home planet. Build a structure and then see if it will withstand an earthquake. You can learn about how tectonic plates work and why earthquakes are such a big deal.

Pretend you are a meteorologist and film a weather broadcast on the green screen!

franklin institute kid friendly guide

And you can even calculate your carbon footprint. 

Sir Isaac’s Loft

Everything in Sir Isaac’s Loft is hands-on experimentation and all about physics! If you are familiar with the Maryland Science Center, this exhibit is a lot like Newton’s Alley.

See if you can lift your own body weight. Experiment with a sand pendulum. 

franklin institute kid friendly guide

And you will be mesmerized by the George Rhoads kinetic sculpture– a contraption that is very much like a Rube Goldberg machine. 


You will be shocked (had to go there) with how electrifying (and again) this fun exhibit is! Use your body to complete a circuit and conduct some experiments about how light bulbs work, and more!


franklin institute kid friendly guide

Do you have a budding rocket scientist or astronaut? If so, you will absolutely want to check out the Space exhibit. You can get an inside look at how the moon works or see if you can construct a rover that would work on the moon’s rocky surface.

franklin institute kid friendly guide


If you like playing sports or would just like to see how your body works to play in general, the SportZone exhibit is really a ton of fun. See if you have what it takes to ride the waves as a surfer.

franklin institute kid friendly guide

Practice your jump shot. Or race yourself or a friend and see how your muscles impact speed. 

franklin institute kid friendly guide

The Train Factory

franklin institute kid friendly guide

Climb aboard the massive 350-ton Baldwin 60000 steam locomotive. Yes, this massive train is actually inside the Franklin Institute and you can hop inside. 

While exploring this exhibit, see if you can design your own train and learn how magnets work. 

Tech Studio

franklin institute kid friendly guide

Tech Studio is another great hands-on exhibit where you can take on engineering challenges and see if you have skills for design.

Everyone will love watching the 3-D printer as well. It’s always creating something fun and it’s super interesting to see how a 3-D printer works.

Air Show

franklin institute kid friendly guide

The biggest draw of this aerospace-themed exhibit is the T-33 Jet. You can crawl into the cockpit and pretend you are a test pilot!

Hands-on exhibits teach the principles of aerodynamics like how airflow impacts flight, how the angle of a wing can give lift, and more. 

franklin institute kid friendly guide

There are some great historical exhibits inside the Air Show as well. There is an original 1911 Wright Model B Flyer on exhibit, as well as plenty of stories of aviation heroes like the Tuskegee Airmen. 

franklin institute kid friendly guide

Your Brain

franklin institute kid friendly guide

A companion exhibit to the Giant Heart, Your Brain dives deep into what makes your brain work. This is just a really fun and cool brain exhibit and kids, in particular, will totally dig the indoor play area that replicates the synapses and neurons inside the brain (not really.. But it looks super cool). 

franklin institute kid friendly guide

You can see an actual brain and brainstem, and then do a series of brain buster challenges to get firsthand experience with how the brain plays tricks on you!

franklin institute kid friendly guide

This is a massive exhibit space with loads of fun and interactive mini-experiments to try with your kids!

franklin institute kid friendly guide

Amazing Machine

This fun exhibit delves into how a machine works and through a series of exhibits you can experiment with pulleys, gears, and more to create your own machine!

Fun Add Ons

franklin institute kid friendly guide

In addition to the exhibits, don’t forget to catch a planetarium show at the award-winning Fels Planetarium, or one of the many live science shows that happen throughout the day.

The Franklin Institute is also home to the Tuttleman IMAX theatre. However, as of Spring 2023, it is not open.

Special Events and Exhibits

disney100 exhibit

In addition to the fantastic permanent exhibits, The Franklin Institute is host to some pretty incredible special exhibits. We have attended a Disney Pixar exhibit, The Harry Potter Exhibit, and Disney100 Anniversary exhibit. 

Harry Potter Exhibition

FAQ/Know Before You Go

Where do you park for The Franklin Institute?

There is a parking garage on site. It’s not a huge parking garage but very convenient, as you can take an elevator up to the ticketing desk and main exhibit hall.

If the parking garage is full there are tons of parking garage and street parking options in the immediate vicinity of the Institute.

Is there an on site restaurant or cafeteria at The Franklin Institute?

The Eatery is the on-site museum restaurant and it’s actually pretty good. The space is large and airy and they serve kid favorites like chicken strips, as well as a decent selection of prepared sandwiches and salads.

What are the hours of operation for The Franklin Institute?

The Franklin Institute is open Monday-Sunday from 9:30 am to 5 pm.

What is the address and location for The Franklin Institute?

Located at the intersection of 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Address: 271 North 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Google Map Directions

What is the cost of admission?

Cost: $45 for adults, $41 for kids (with admission to special exhibits). $25 and $21 per ticket for the museum without the special exhibits.

You can also gain entry to The Franklin Institute with Philadelphia CityPASS.

For more information about The Franklin Institute, check out this link.

The Eatery at Franklin Institute

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franklin institute kid friendly guide
franklin institute kid friendly guide

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